„Words are, of course,
the most powerful drug used by mankind.“
- Rudyard Kipling -
Words have the power to change the world. Every spoken word that is heard by someone sparks off a multitude of emotions. Euphoria, enthusiasm, hate, sadness, anger, happiness, pride and many, many more emotions can be triggered by words. Emotions are the cause for our actions. We act according to how we feel. So if we can control emotions with words, then we should learn to use the words to our advantage.
In the end, words are just sounds which we make with the help of our speech organs (vocal cords, larynx, diaphragm, mouth and tongue etc.). All animals make some sounds and all humans speak a language. But even this we can only understand if it is identical with the one whose meaning we have learned and know.
According to some philosophers, the human mind is limited by its language, because you only have the range of your own language to put your thoughts into words.
"The boundaries of my language are the boundaries of my world",
wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosopher of the past century.
This becomes clear when you consider that in different languages there are words for e.g. certain feelings, which in turn do not exist in other languages. So it can be an advantage to speak several languages, because you have the ability to express situations differently.
There is so much talking and there is something written everywhere. You get information in the form of words on all kinds of media and channels. Someone talks to you directly, you read a newspaper, you listen to music on the radio, you read the latest Twitter news or you get a message on your smartphone. The list is endless. The difficult thing is to distinguish the Bla Bla from the interesting and important information. At a dinner with friends and a glass of wine, there will be endless stories, laughter and conversation. You just have to know which sources you like to listen to, which ones are good for your mood and your self.
It can help to shorten unnecessary information flow. You don't have to listen to all the gossip. Too many words can get on your nerves and make your head explode. Try to stop this overflow and get the information you need. News usually have a negative character. If you always read or hear news from early morning to late night, you will probably have the strong opinion that the world is bad and everyone is a corrupt crook. This does not mean that you should not inform yourself or not follow news anymore. The dose makes the poison.
Therefore you should include less negative Bla Bla and much more positive information into your life. And the best source for positive words are books. No matter if they are e-books, audio books or ragged paperbacks, novels or poetry, non-fiction or philosophy, Harry Potter or the Buddenbrooks. If you don't read anything or very little, then you should start with it. All successful people read. You get information, opinion and whole trains of thought directly from the authors. Find some role models and read what went on in their heads. So many new perspectives open up. You can let your imagination blossom and expand your horizon into infinity.
This article also consists just of words. How you pick them up, how you understand them and what you do with them is entirely up to you. Let us see how words can positively influence our consciousness.
The Power of Words
If you think about it carefully, no one will probably disagree when you think about the power of words. They can influence us and direct our emotions. Let's pick out a few examples.
There are oftentimes really sad stories, which will shock or sadden you in no time. A distant relative has cancer, the news reports about a kidnapped girl, the company of a close friend goes bankrupt, the partner leaves you... Sometimes words have consequences and sometimes they have no influence on our lives at all. Yet they can put us in a sad, lethargic or simply negative state of mind. In fact, bad things often happen. No matter how careful you are, you cannot avert everything. But equally as many good things happen on this earth. You should not forget that.
Enthusiasm and Euphoria
Words can help a person even in situations of losing. Motivational speeches by sports coaches who have to motivate their team in the breaks can be mentioned at this point. The more skillful the choice of words, the higher the motivation of the individual can be. A good speech is the prime example of how to arouse enthusiasm and euphoria in people. A moment ago the crowd was cold and disinterested and after the speech the spark was awakened and everyone is burning inside. Think of famous speakers who touched thousands and more only with the power of words. No matter if positive or negative. Rhetoric is a powerful weapon. The best example is the speech of Mark Anthony - by William Shakespeare.
- John F. Kennedy (1963): "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a berliner")
Just four words in german helped to evoke an unprecedented euphoria and cheers among the Berlin population at the time. With this speech Kennedy brought a feeling of "We think of you" to the citizens of Berlin in the tense situation of the Cold War.
- Martin Luther King (1961): "I have a dream"
A dream that finally people of all origins can live together, peacefully and respectfully. Still one of the most famous and also most moving speeches ever. A vision that many people still wish to achieve today.
- Joseph Goebbels (1943): "Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?" ("Do you want a total war?")
A positive speech? I'm sure it wasn't. Quite the opposite, in fact. Still, it was a rhetorically excellent speech, I'm sure. With words alone, the then Minister of Propaganda of the Third Reich was able to manipulate a mass of people in such a way that they answered to the question "Do you want a total war?" with a more than clear "YES!" and loud cheers. A total war? Total destruction? Is that what people should actually want? It was a mass-manipulation. Unfortunately, we know how the story of World War II ended. There was total war. Words can build, but they can also destroy.
It's not only with famous speeches that people can be manipulated. Everyone probably knows this kind of situations: "I'm so tired right now, can't you take care of the kids today" Something like that happens between people all the time. This is certainly not a serious manipulation and this is exactly where you should differentiate, because manipulation does not have to be bad.
Positive manipulation or influencing: We both benefit
Simple examples are:
- I'll cook for you, if you massage me afterwards (to the partner)
- If you keep your hat on, we'll go to the zoo today (to the child)
- If you give me one more day, I can give you better results (to the boss)
Such forms are very often found among balanced people and it's in no way a negative virtue. Thinking for the benefit of all improves the togetherness. This is one way you can get others to do things you want to do without forcing them. Any kind of positive persuasion is in this sense a form of positive influence. Practice talking others into doing things well, building them up, supporting them. But don't let yourself be taken advantage of, neither materially nor emotionally. Give because you want to give, not because you feel obliged. This is the wrong approach.
Negative manipulation or influencing: Only I get something from it.
You should beware of such manipulations. It is often seen in partnerships, but also among friends or colleagues. Usually the people who use such negative methods have a very low self-confidence, but they can also be a sign of a crumbling relationship. Through manipulation they force others to do what they want. It is a form of power over others.
- Didn't you do the dishes again? You're really no good for anything (to your partner)
- If you don't clean up your room, you're grounded for two weeks (to your child)
- You give me the raise or I quit (to the boss)
Here clearly it's a matter of enforcing his/her will, by whatever form of manipulation. Threats and humiliation are a very common method of manipulation.
You can only face them by withdrawing yourself or by a clarifying conversation. In order to protect yourself and your dignity, you should break such negative patterns immediately. It will only bring you a bad time, whether you are the manipulated one or the manipulator. It's a much better feeling when people do things for you because they want to.
If such behavior from one of the two should occur again and again in a partnership, then the balance of the relationship is not right at all. One has taken the lead, even if not very elegant, and the other has taken the role of the victim. This constellation leads sooner or later to the end of love. This must absolutely stop as soon as one of the partners actually feels hurt. Even if it means the end of the relationship. Nobody deserves to be treated badly.
I think that at this point there is perhaps no simpler and clearer example than the words:
"Ich liebe dich / Ti amo / Je t'aime / Wǒ ài nǐ / Σ 'αγαπώ / I love you!"
These few words can trigger immeasurable happiness and joy in people. It is simply a wonderful feeling to be in love or to experience the affection of another person.
But it doesn't have to be just "I love you!". Good news of any kind can bring joy to us. And that's why it's so important to always include more positive than negative words. If you consciously rely on positive input, your thinking will gradually get used to it. It doesn't have to be just a book, even a community service or a painting course can be joy and a form of self-fulfillment. You will meet people who also have a desire for something, a common interest that you can talk about in a stimulating way.
Don't sit on your couch and let the TV spoil you. Go out, out of your house and out of yourself, fill your mind with positive energy.
How you can control words
If you think about it carefully, no one will probably disagree when you think of the power of words. They can influence us and direct our emotions. If you use the right words, you can change not only your state of mind, but also the way you relate to other people. You will learn to turn situations to the positive and this only by changing your choice of words.
How you positively influence yourself
There are people who can get upset easily and there are others who keep a cool head even in stressful situations. I myself belonged to the first category. I could get totally angry over little things. If I didn't find something, for example my wallet, immediately anger boiled up in me. Over the years I cooled down more and more, but the following method helped me especially with this weakness of character.
Choose gentle words when dealing with anger or conflict situations.
So instead of saying, "I'm furious," you say, "That bothers me a bit." At this point, you may think that such a simple change of words can have no effect on our minds at all. But I must correct you. As simple as it may be, if you change your choice of words out of conviction, you can actually control your emotions.
"I hate you!" and " I get angry when you do that," can both tell an annoyance about something. However, it will make a difference to both parties which of the sentences were said. So if you get into a situation again where you just want to scream out, tell yourself "I don't get upset, it's not worth it". Loosen up the situation by loosening your words. Be careful, you will feel the difference.
In Dale Carnegie's book "Stop worrying - start living", Carnegie repeatedly cites the example: "Do not weep over spilt milk!" The message behind this is that no matter how much you get upset, all of this does not bring back the milk that has been spilled. So you should just let the anger go.
The whole thing also applies the other way round, namely to the reinforcement of rather passive statements. When asked: "How are you?", most people answer: "Good / It's okay / The usual / Has been better etc.". Stop it! You can positively influence yourself with positive words. So the next time somebody asks how you are doing you just answer: "Awesome / Totally great / Never been better!" Even if you have a few problems, a negative attitude won't lighten up your emotions. Solve your problems, but pay attention to your words already today. So the rule is:
Choose positively reinforcing words when dealing with situations and emotions.
Your day was "phenomenal / exhausting but satisfying / extremely productive". There is another very funny way to lighten up your mood. And that is by forming new words. Through this neolinguistics you simply put together positive words. I personally often use the word "megatastic". Made up of "mega + fantastic". Of course it's silly. That's just what it should be. To this day, when someone asks me how I am and I answer "megatastic", it always puts a smile on the face of not only me but also my counterpart.
Use the power of words and change your current emotional state yourself. If you say it, you will feel it! I think it will be a little clearer with a few examples:
|Statements / Questions||
Counterstatements / Answers
|How was dinner?||
It was incredibly delicious (instead of: quite good)
|How was your day at work?||
I was challenged and am happy to be at home (instead of: stressful)
|Do you want to go to the movies?||
Yeah, I'd love to. Let's go! (instead of: yes, why not)
|Do you like my dress?||
You look outstanding / charming (instead of: beautiful)
|I look like shit today!||
I look great today / I feel really good today.
|I'm really pissed off!||
I'm a little upset!
|I don't like this at all!||
I've seen better things.
|Go away, I don't want to see you anymore!||
Your behavior hurts me, I need some time to myself.
I think you understand the principle. You're not ugly, stupid, good-for-nothing or anything negative like that. Maybe there's just one thing you're not very good at. So what? How many things do you think I'm not very good at. That's normal. Don't pull yourself down. Build yourself up! Pay attention and use the right words. Things are "beautiful" or "not so beautiful" , but from now on, never "okay" or "awful".
Positive influence in relation to other persons
We will now look at the whole thing from a different angle. Let's say that you have mastered the art of positive wording and have a very good control over yourself. That's all well and good, until, for example, the husband comes home and starts cursing loudly because his boss is a gorilla, the price of gasoline has risen and he has also stumbled over the children's toys.
First, it should be understood that we humans are emotional beings. When a lot goes to our heads, even the smallest thing can make us explode. So how do you positively influence other people? What do you do when you are confronted with a negative or angry person?
Option 1: Never fight fire with fire
If you verbally attack a person or say that they are wrong about something, you will always encounter an emotional being. This means that if someone is wrong, they will almost certainly not turn away from their point of view, even though they may even know that they are wrong. No matter how much I'm right and the other person is wrong, but if I say things like this: "That's all bullshit you're talking about", then one will not appeal to his logical judgment, but only to his pride. One has directly attacked the person and hurt his pride. This is going nowhere. You should rather try it in another way: "I understand what you are saying, but from my point of view I understood it to be...." This signals: I respect you and your opinion, and I have an opinion on this, too, and that is...
So if somebody is upset and you go there and get mad on top of it that that person is upset, then it is clear where this is going. A fight in which both discuss hot-headedly and in the end maybe even throw insulting things at each other is no solution and never really led to a happy end. The so-called "reconciliation sex" will not always work with partners.
Option 2: Use soothing words and speak in a calm voice
Sure, this may not be easy at times, but if you speak a little slower and also calmly, this automatically calms the person in front of you. You do not believe me? If someone is standing in front of you and yells at you and you answer in calm words "I notice you are a little tense, I'd better leave you alone until you have cooled down." The other person will probably look stunned. Possibly the person yells a little more, but at latest when you have left the room in a quiet walk, the drama will probably stop.
Option 3: Don't argue
This is not an easy discipline either. But just don't do it. Leave the room, talk more calmly or ignore the person until he or she is capable of normal conversation again. Do not make snide comments to continue teasing the other person. As discussed in option 1, you should get into the habit of not attacking the other person. The smarter one gives in, or so they say.
Attorney David E. Noll has spent years studying psychology and neuroscience to investigate a pattern of why prisoners in U.S. prisons behaved so aggressively with each other. He not only studied this behavior, but also developed a plan, or rather a course, for people to escape the aggression of others. So to speak: How to really settle an argument. And in these cases, an argument between violent criminals, as opposed to two spouses in the living room, certainly looked different. He came to the conclusion that two people in an argument were not allowed to react to each other's emotions. By this simple change, a heated argument could indeed be prevented. If you don't offer a surface to attack, you can't be attacked either. Of course the work and the anti-aggression program of Noll is much more far-reaching.
Option 4: Turning negative words of others into positive ones
It clearly does not have to be just an angry person. Sometimes it's just a colleague who is always very negative and who swears all the time. You cannot change everyone, but you can change yourself. The colleague: "What a bummer, now we got even more of this dirty work from our as**ole Boss / Now the boss wants us to take over these tasks as well". Answer positively and solution-oriented: "We'll get it done without any problems / We'll do it now without getting upset and then we'll all talk to the boss together. We really can't do it all in time." No matter what he/she answers, you have made a positive statement. This statement is more for you than for others. Then do not respond to further negative comments of the colleague.
|Statements of others||Your answer|
|The weather is terrible.||I think winter is very nice too. I like snow|
|The movie was just bad.||I also found the story a bit banal, but the actors were great.|
|You're annoying.||Thanks. (directing your attention to something else)|
|How can you like that shit?||I'm not criticizing your taste either. Respect that!|
|I feel sad.||I'll help you. We'll figure it out.|
|All people are idiots!||At least you and I aren't idiots. That makes two of us. (smile)|
Turn it however you want. The important thing is that you should not let negative people or statements put you in a negative state of mind. Sometimes it can be a bit exhausting and not everyone always plays along as you would like. Just get used to being positive. If it doesn't work out, just get back on track. Until it becomes a habit.
Words have a huge impact on our lives. Let the positive words guide you. Read, listen and speak positive words. If others are always negative and you realize that you are no longer getting any use of these people, then end the relationship with them. As much as you would like to, you cannot help or change everyone. Try it by changing your point of view with the right words. But if it does not work, you have to move on. If your light is shining, others will get some of your glow. But if your glow is slowed down by the negativity of others, you cannot glow for anyone. Not even for yourself. Do not let that happen. Influence yourself and others as often as possible with a brightening mood by using a positive choice of words. Pay attention to your words and start a megatastic life.
I hope the article was helpful for you. If so, why don't you share it so others can benefit too? I wish YOU the best!
- LdR -
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